Famous theater, film and television actor Alec Baldwin made headlines earlier this year when he married yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas in New York, but just days before the glitzy wedding he had already been in the tabloid news media radar due to an alleged confrontation with a photographer outside of a Manhattan courthouse.
As is usually the case with celebrities of Mr. Baldwin’s caliber, paparazzi and entertainment news reporters followed him and his fiancée as the couple went to the New York City Clerk's Office to get their marriage license. Some photographers purportedly stood in the way of the couple as they tried to enter the building, and they apparently refused to move. A scuffle between Mr. Baldwin and one of the photographers ensued, followed by the cameraman contacting the NY Police Department and alleging that he was punched by the actor.
Fame, media and personal injury matters
Hollywood personalities often find themselves embroiled in court battles, either as defendants or plaintiffs, involving personal injury cases. Personal injury involves failure to exercise judgment and use reasonable care, and the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff to convince the court the basis and substance of the claim. There were several members of the media and cameras present at the case involving Mr. Baldwin and the photographer, so there should be plenty of supporting evidence, but this is far from a cut-and-dry case.
Should the photographer feel that he was a victim of personal injury and file a civil complaint against Mr. Baldwin, Baldwin may have a compelling defense if he can prove the photographer blocked the entrance to the Clerk's Office. Should the reported events had unfolded in California, the case would be similar in the sense that the plaintiff would have to prove that blocking the right of way was not an intervening cause that led to the alleged injury.